Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: Greetings From Florida (Mass.)


Dear Mom and Dad,

Greetings from Florida (Mass.), the other Sunshine State, where the sun shines brighter reflecting off the snow.

I've been watching the weather reports, and I think I heard that the temperature today is going to be 2 degrees. As you know, 0 degrees Celsius is freezing, and 2 degrees would only be slightly above that, so I think we should be OK. Maybe I'll go for a stroll around the lake and enjoy some of the fine Florida weather.

Well, the lake seems to be frozen. It turns out that I misread the forecast and missed a minus sign, since today's temperature is actually going to be minus 2 degrees rather than 2 degrees. So, slightly below freezing, but it still doesn't sound too bad. If it's near the freezing point, it's still safe to go outside, so that's completely fine. I'll just be sure to wear a warm coat.

I've just been informed that the forecast of minus 2 degrees was Fahrenheit, not Celsius. That's 34 degrees below freezing, since freezing is 32 degrees, which probably explains why I just saw Alan Chartock huddling inside a tauntaun for warmth. Alaska's average temperature in December is at least in the double digits. This subzero temperature stuff outside now is for the birds. Or at least, that's what I thought, until I saw a frozen birdsicle. Should have flown south sooner. My beard is now 5 pounds of ice, and I've only been outside a few minutes. It is possible I should not be outside.

Apparently, minus 2 degrees was actually the "high" for the day, and temperatures will drop to minus 14 degrees. That is more negative degrees than eight people each with dual Ph.D.s in insults and invective. Minus 14 degrees is a temperature that should not exist. Or at least, nobody should try to exist outside in it.

In this weather, if you take a cup of boiling water and try to throw it in the air, someone will slap you and steal your cup of boiling water, because in this weather, cups of boiling water are really handy for making you slightly less cold for a minute or two until they freeze, and nobody is going to let you just throw away a source of heat.

Think about this for a minute: Freezing is actually closer to comfortable room temperature than it is to minus 14 degrees. If you stepped outside in normal freezing weather, you could more easily tell yourself "This is perfect comfortable weather in which to wear shorts and a T-shirt" than you could tell yourself "This is as cold as the Berkshires in January 2018."

It turns out that the minus 17 degrees does not take the windchill into account, which means that the temperature will feel more like minus 40 degrees. And it absolutely does. It's so cold that I think it has frozen the snot that my nose won't even produce until tomorrow. I think if I went outside tonight, I would be breathing ice cubes. I could literally step into a walk-in freezer in order to warm up, since it would still be an improvement on being outside.

So, that's the news from Florida (Mass.). We might not have Disney World, but in the spirit of Disney, anyone foolish enough to spend the evening outside will probably end up cryogenically "Frozen."

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and hiding in his house until this thing is over. His website is


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